We’ve all seen the areas on Youtube, blogs, and other news areas where people make their anonymous comments about the topic at hand. It has become very easy for people to make comments that they might not otherwise have made should they have had to have their name or face associated with their remarks. Many comments are made by children under 18 and some of those comments may be just dismissed as immature. However, as more news stories surface about children killing themselves from cyber-bullying, there is growing concern about society accepting this kind of behavior. (For 11 facts about cyber-bullying click here). Cyberbullyingprotection.net reported that 75% of students have visited websites that bashed other students.
Many blogs, including this one, allow screening of posts before allowing them to be exposed. This is useful to avoid the deluge of spam that comes across from people trying to sell their unsolicited products. However, it can be reassuring to know that “haters” can’t just post anything they want.
Why are there so many angry people out there that want to write negative comments? Part of the issue that these people have, other than immaturity, is a lack of emotional intelligence (EI). Emotional intelligence may be defined in many ways. One of the easiest ways to think about it is to define emotional intelligence as the ability to understand one’s own emotions as well as those in others. People who write these posts have little consideration of the feeling of others. This shows a lack of interpersonal skills.
It brings forth a question as to whether any specific demographic has more issues with emotional intelligence than others. Rueven Bar-On, creator of the EQ-i emotional intelligence test, found that his model, “reveals that older people are more emotionally and socially intelligent than younger people, females are more aware of emotions than males while the latter are more adept at managing emotions than the former, and that there are no significant differences in emotional-social intelligence between the various ethnic groups that have been examined in North America.”
The good news is that emotional intelligence can be improved. Authors like Marcia Hughes and others have written several helpful books about how to increase levels of EI. Author and psychiatrist John Gottman discussed helping our children’s emotional development in his book, Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child. Some of the things Gottman suggests are to:
- Listen to our children with empathy.
- Help your children name their feelings.
- Validate your child’s emotions.
- Turn their tantrums into teaching tools.
- Use conflicts to teach problem-solving.
- Set an example by remaining calm.
By helping our children develop emotional intelligence, perhaps we can see a future of less “haters” and cyber-bullies making anonymous hurtful comments.